I grew up in a Maine that had no legalized gambling, save for harness racing.

It was a time when churches were full, families had one car, one breadwinner, and there wasn’t much disposable income. Neighbors shared and looked out for each other.

Now, church leaders are not widely respected, families seldom interact with their neighbors and there is greater disparity between haves and have nots. Entertainment is a priority, and we have more entertainment options.

I recall when attitudes about gambling shifted in Maine, and the state got involved, reaping gambling revenue for the general fund. Disposable income of families had risen, and for those who play responsibly, the lottery was considered entertainment.

Scarborough Downs faded from glory and parimutuel racing became relegated to summer fair season. Now, with scratch tickets, gaming at Foxwoods, poker on cable, all kinds of Internet gambling action and the new casino in Bangor with its multitude of gaming, there is little growth possible for harness racing.

Indeed, people are starting to discover there isn’t much growth left in our gambling industry at all. There isn’t extra money in our paychecks to play at and support yet more racinos and casinos. We are maxed out.

The grand schemes that Question 2 and 3 pose are not sustainable.

Heidi Chadbourne


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